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Unwholesome Talk

God’s word commands followers of Christ to “not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths” (Eph.4:29). Often the Bible gauges our spirituality by our vocabulary (Jms.3:2-12). If our words are unsavory Jesus provides the needed diagnostic when he reveals that “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” because we should learn to see that “the good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart”, but “the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart” (Lk.6:45). While a case can be made that the Bible occasionally enlists graphic depictions and jarring words to awaken our minds in order to make an urgent biblical point (which English translations usually water down – e.g., Phil.3:8; Jude 23; Is.64:6, et al.), God is clear that his concern has to do with “obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking” (Eph.5:4). It’s the off-color comedy, the sordid expletives and the angry outbursts of vulgarity that God says are out of place among his people. So take note of your words, and the words of others, they reveal a lot about who we are and the state of our hearts.

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